Transitioning to partial or complete remote operations over night was made easy for banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions that had invested in cloud-based platforms, or at least had some cloud-enabled functionalities. These companies understood that the cloud promotes enterprise-wide transformation beyond mere technology features and functionalities. It can be seen as a gateway to new developing opportunities, staying abreast of changing customer demands and the ever-changing competitive landscape.
Improve processes. Improve performance.
Beyond the ability to work remotely, financial institutions have an even greater need to embrace cloud platforms and technologies, as the industry as a whole is under attack from external and internal threats that jeopardize their very existence.
In a recent article, Deloitte outlined the key areas where the cloud can improve the performance of banks and financial institutions. Here’s how they relate to the contact center:
1. Greater unity and access to shared data
At this point, everyone understands that a cloud solution allows employees to access information from anywhere and at any time – the same information they would have whether they were in-office or at home in-pajamas. Cloud computing allows financial institution contact centers to have instant access to customer data providing a complete view of their information, resulting in an expedited and better customer experience. It means your agents can make faster and better decisions, and managers have accesses to detailed insights and analytics – any time and anywhere.
2. Innovation, innovation, innovation
With customers demanding more self-service options, 24/7/365 days access to their information and even more online transaction functionalities, banks and other financial institutions must continuously innovate to keep pace with market trends. By leveraging cloud technologies, companies can create long-term strategies to achieve their goals – from improving customer experiences, improving current service offerings, adding new services and, automating features, to optimizing performance and reducing costs. When the cloud becomes the core foundation for growth, innovation becomes paramount to everything the company does. Plus, it allows for disruptive innovations that go beyond a new feature or web functionality.
3. Continuity of operations and disaster recovery
The cloud has proven its value as a tool for resilience given the events of the pandemic. The cloud allowed financial institutions the ability to overcome the mandated stay-home measures with no disruptions in service, seamlessly transitioning to remote operations. And because of the fast-moving pace of technological, environment and social disruptions we see today, it’s never been more important to embed resiliency into your operations – not just for large scale pandemics, but also for what we would now consider more basic disruptions and failures. And as much as we plan to never fail, failures do happen and when they do, cloud technologies enable a smoother disaster recovery of data. In fact, IT departments often prefer cloud versus on-premises for this very capability.
4. More regulations, not less
The growing trend towards digital transformation has prompted even more regulatory reporting requirements for banks and other institutions. Cloud technologies with built-in functionalities can automate these compliances and can be adapted to comply with complex regulations as they change – and continue to change – over time. And while some may be government or industry imposed, every company have their own set of rules that they need to follow. These too can be incorporated into their cloud contact center platform and automatically applied when in use.
Be Safe. Go Cloud!
For the financial sector, security and compliance takes on an even greater, if not more critical, importance. Cloud technologies when properly implemented with all the safety and securities imbedded into all levels and across all processes, can be more secure than on-premises solutions.
Let’s take a look at how the financial sector is impacted from a cybersecurity standpoint.
Cybercrime and data breaches
In this all-digital age, nothing haunts a company more than the threat of cyberattacks. Because the pandemic sparked a greater rise in cloud activity, there was a spiked increase in sophisticated and coordinated global cybercrimes. From shuttering company operations and holding data for ransom, to stealing customer information (emails, passwords, credit card information and other sensitive data), cybercrime has a lasting negative effect on companies and their customers.
No company is safe from cybercrime, but financial institutions are even more vulnerable and subject to these illegal activities. Why?
Money! Banks, investment firms and insurance companies are in the business of managing customer money. Where there is money, there will always be crime. Plus, many of these institutions have rightfully embraced cloud computing – often leading the forefront of new online capabilities – but have failed to invest in continuous and on-going security. It’s not a one and done situation, as cyber threats are increasingly more targeted and sophisticated.
60% of banks report an increase in fraud, with over 50% experiencing an increase in fraud value
A cloud platform can protect customer data collected and stored when coupled with strict cyber safeguards, and a clear company-wide security policy for all employees. So, whether you have to abide by the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard), following strict cloud security protocols ensures that your customer’s personally identifiable information (PII) always remain secure from fraud and data breaches.
No company can provide all the services that customers now demand. Open banking allows third party technologies to access/process customer information in order to enhance the services provided by financial institutions. Completely web-enabled, open banking integrates multiple platforms through secure APIs that facilitate the sharing and exchange of customer information, for the purpose of completing a service.
For end-to-end security, it is important to partner with reputable third-party companies that have established strict security standards, or better yet, work together to coordinate joint security efforts – as third-party integrations are one of the key risks associated to cybersecurity threats for financial institutions. Once penetrated, cyber thieves can gain access to all customer information.
With 16.55 billion targeted API cyber attacks, 463.3 million were targeted against the financial sector
People love online banking
No longer a novelty, online banking has become the cornerstone piece of self-service for the banking industry. Insurance and other fintech companies are also modelling their services by offering web services and standalone applications to process claims, make transactions and other demands. Providing customers with smart tools using artificial intelligence and machine learning are pushing the boundaries of what can be done using cloud computing.
And like all business, the financial sector has to balance the user experience with stringent security measures.
Remote can be as secure as in-person
Whether in-office or at home, your agents and contact center workforce can safely and securely deliver exceptional customer experiences. Cloud-based contact center platforms provide staff with instant and secure access to customer data, provide multi-factor login authentication, and deliver all the in-person safeguards. But there is more you can do to make remote work that even safer:
- Eliminate vulnerabilities by issuing company laptops to remote workers
- Update networking, operating systems and antivirus regularly
- Mandate a company-wide password management system
- Provide regular agent and staff training on the importance of security
- Empower agents to spot fraudulent activity
- Keep the line of communication between agent and manager open, with regular interaction
- Enable agent-to-agent collaboration
Loss of trust and reputation
If we’re going to talk about what it takes to stay secure on the cloud, then it’s worth noting what could happen when security is not prioritized. We have all heard about the many security breaches in recent times – Facebook, LinkedIn, EasyJet, Capital One – and some companies worry that a cloud approach will lead down a similar path. The truth is, it could – if you don’t prioritize security.
Cybercrimes can severely damage a company’s trust and reputation leading to financial losses, lawsuits, and an upheaval of company operations. Customers may turn to a competing institution. Employees may feel their loyalty to the company erode as they deal with the aftermath. But these fears should not interfere with your decision to adopt cloud technologies. If anything, it should strengthen your resiliency to combine any and all cloud strategies with a cybersecurity strategy – just as you would anytime you deal with sensitive company data.
Across the world, banks and financial institutions recognize the importance of the cloud and are using cloud technologies as a growth driver, and a true competitive disruptor. With customer demands for digital capabilities and increased self-service options at an all-time high, the financial sector is pivoting towards cloud solutions. It’s a win for customers and companies alike.
And though it can be challenging, the rise of cybercrimes and data breaches should not be a deterrent when pre-emptive systems are put in place to block these illegal activities, combined with increased regulated cyber risk governance and regulations. Thanks to the union of advanced cloud technologies and strict cyber securities, banks, insurance companies and other fintech organizations can benefit from cloud capabilities without having to worry about cybercrime.